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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Case study of Kresge Foundation office complex.


Most building performance evaluations only describe whether a building meets certain criteria. In contrast, this report describes the performance of the Kresge Foundation Complex (Complex) in relation to industry‐standard design and operations performance criteria while examining the appropriateness of these criteria for the Complex and similar high‐performance buildings. More specifically, this study examines the Complex's performance in 20 areas. It also highlights potential flaws in human factors, energy use, landscape water use, and acoustics criteria and suggests improvements in biodiversity and stormwater criteria.

The Center for the Built Environment (CBE) and associates analyzed the performance of the Complex, a highperformance green project built in 2004 with a Platinum rating in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system for New Construction (LEED‐NC). The CBE team analyzed the following aspects of the Complex: human factors; indoor water use; stormwater management; landscape performance (water use and biodiversity); acoustics; lighting; indoor air quality (IAQ); thermal comfort; energy performance; and first, life‐cycle, and operational costs (Table 1.) CBE used evaluation criteria drawn from industry standards, guidelines, best practices when available, and professional judgment where standards were not definitive or required interpretation.

The results were derived from CBE's occupant satisfaction database; the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Performance Measurement Protocols (PMP); LEED‐NC Version 2.1 design criteria; and other relevant criteria for biodiversity,1 operations, and life‐cycle costs. Appendix A contains a complete description of the basis for the scoring for each of the 20 evaluations.

Table 1 shows a summary scorecard of the Complex’s performance, for all 20 evaluations. The (+) sign indicates conformity with these criteria and performance consistent with what the authors consider appropriate for high‐performance buildings. The (‐) sign indicates nonconformity with relevant criteria or other causes for concern. The building meets or exceeds performance criteria in 14 of the 20 areas evaluated.

The occupant survey results in Table 1 were obtained from the CBE Occupant Satisfaction Survey, which is cited in several guidelines and green building rating systems, including LEED‐NC. PMP results in Table 1 are based on ASHRAE’s PMP. Although the United States Green Building Council, which developed the LEED‐NC rating system (USGBC 2002), is a coauthor of PMP, PMP differs from the LEED‐NC Version 2.1 rating system under which the building was certified. It describes performance measurement techniques for buildings in operation and is based on industry standards where applicable. It does not cover buildings in design, does not specify performance hurdles, and is not a rating system. Neither does PMP cover site issues. Instead, PMP and other criteria represent a way to evaluate how well the performance objectives of LEED‐NC were achieved.

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